« PreviousContinue »
The writer of the following Memoir has too much confidence in the kindness of the public, to deem it necessary for him to deprecate the severity of its criticism, or to entreat its favourable verdict on his labours. He is not unaware, that the partiality of a father for an only childlately the last earthly solace to which he could look, on the loss of all the other members of his family—may have led him to dwell on scenes, which, however dear to his own heart, from those nu
merous and powerful associations, of which he alone is conscious, may present but little to interest the feelings of others.
If he has over-rated the talents and attainments of his beloved child, he has erred in common with some whose names stand high in more than one department of literature and science.* He certainly felt no inconsiderable diffidence in offering to the notice of the public a life of his son, till he found that many, who had no parental partialities, and who were, in every other respect, more competent judges than himself, had
* See the various testimonies of Dr. Wardlaw, and Professors Walker, Jardine, Mylne, and Meikleham, in different parts of the following Memoir.
formed as high an estimate of those talents as he entertained; and some of whom had expressed a wish that a work of this kind should be undertaken.
The writer may be suspected of partiality, especially in describing the moral and religious character of his son. It will, however, be admitted, that no other had such means of knowing that character ; and he solemnly declares, that he is utterly unconscious of presenting one feature more strongly than truth permitted, or even demanded. When he asserts--as he does most conscientiouslythat he never, for the last fourteen years, endured one anxious feeling of apprehension respecting his child's future interests in time or eternity—that, from
a perfect conviction of the purity and strength of his religious principles, his parents could ever repose on him the most, unlimited confidence the public, will admit that, in whatever he has said, he is, at least, sincere. On this subject he dares to appeal, without hesitation, from his own testimony, to the united opinions of many—and especially of those numerous youths, both at home and at College, with whom his son was most intimately acquainted ; and to whom he necessarily appeared, in his hours of relaxation, without even the possible suspicion of disguise. If TRUTH be PANEGYRIC, the eulogium must stand: and the writer can never sufficiently praise God that, in this case, a eulogium can be fairly pronounced ; and that,